This book has two primary goals. First, it aims to chart the current trajec-
tory of trans politics, one that I argue is recapitulating the limits of leftist,
lesbian and gay, feminist, and antiracist politics that have centered legal
recognition and equality claims. Second, it seeks to elaborate on the pos-
sibilities of what I understand as a critical trans politics— that is, a trans
politics that demands more than legal recognition and inclusion, seeking
instead to transform current logics of state, civil society security, and so-
cial equality. In developing this two- fold account of contemporary trans
politics I aim to reveal the indispensability of trans or ga niz ing and analy-
sis for both leftist thinking and left social movements. Additionally, I aim
to address specific sites of intersection where trans activists and organiz-
ers can and are finding common cause with some of the most im por-
tant po liti cal agendas of our time: police and prison abolition, wealth re-
distribution, and or ga niz ing against immigration enforcement. Further,
I hope to show how critical trans politics practices re sis tance. Following
the traditions of women of color feminism, this critical approach to re-
sis tance refuses to take for granted national stories about social change
that actually operate to maintain conditions of suffering and disparity.1
It questions its own effectiveness, engaging in constant reflection and
self- evaluation. And it is about practice and pro cess rather than a point of
arrival, resisting hierarchies of truth and reality and instead naming and
refusing state vio lence.2 Vari ous social movements have had to contend
with why legal change in the form of rights has not brought the deep
transformation they were seeking, why disparities in life chances have
increased during a period when we have seen the elimination of formal
segregation and the advent of policies prohibiting discrimination on the
basis of sex, race, and disability. Before trans people sign on to what
looks good about being recognized by law in ways that seem desireable
INTRODUCTION
RIGHTS, MOVEMENTS, AND CRITICAL TRANS POLITICS
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